Interview Foam Talent Call: Alejandro Cartagena
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Alejandro Cartagena. I was born in
the Dominican Republic but I currently live in Monterrey, Mexico.
For my Bachelor, I studed Leisure Management and then continued to
complete a Master in Visual Arts. I enjoy skateboarding, watching
TV, photobooks and spending time with my baby, Fausto, and my
What inspired you to pick up a camera and
At first, it was just fun. I was looking for
something to do that was not being at the front desk of a hotel. I
eventually started taking photography workshops, which led me to
change carriers. I was 27 and felt an urge to learn and do as much
as I could as fast I could.
How did you find out about the Foam Talent
Call last year?
Through friends and photography blogs.
What (technical) gear do you use?
I use several cameras. A Canon 5D, a 4x5 Sinar and lately I have been shooting a
lot with a Mamiya RB67. I digitize most of the negatives
at home and then have a master printer that does my editions on a
Hanemulhe photorag pearl paper. I love how it
feels like fiber paper but made with digital technology.
Do you have other interests besides
I really enjoy music. I love to listen to a band
over and over again until I feel that I have heard all the small
things they wanted us to hear. I have been listening to The Police
for the past 2 months and just can't stop! I also try to relate to
the form in music and look at how it relates to the visual in its
abstractness. I completed 2 years of a music major programme at my
university. It was amazing but I realized I was just a good
listener but could never play, so I stopped.
Where do you find inspiration for your
I am a ferocious consumer of the Internet. I
surf the web a lot and find many interesting things that get me
thinking. My past and present also inspire me, for example, things
that make me angry about my culture. I haven't been reading much
lately - Fausto (my son) is just 3 months old and I want to spend
as much time with him as I can - but I really enjoy reading books
on urbanism, the city, and history. I think I am still processing
all the reading I did in during my Master programme. I find myself
producing work that's very much inspired by the things I learned
and discussed during that time.
Who is your favourite photographer or
I don't see it that way. I like many works from
different artists. I am always looking for something to rattle my
head with ideas.
Have you been working on any new projects
this year that you want would like to share with us?
I continue to produce work for the series,
Car poolers, and have started a long-term project on
peoples' need to protect their habitats. I have shot in Italy,
Spain and Mexico. Hopefully this year I will do more work for that
project in Latin America.
What did the Foam Talent Call do for your
career as a photographer?
On a very personal level it made me feel that I
had accomplished an evolution professionally. It is a
definite confidence boost. In terms of exposure it has brought in
many emails for online publications as well as publications in
several European magazines.
Do you have any tips for the young
photographers out there that want to submit their work to the Foam
I guess I would suggest being thorough with the
images you plan to submit. You need to make sure that your images
make sense almost immediately, if possible, as the context is a
competition and there is much to be seen. Be concise and try not to
rely on words for the images to be understood; make the sequence
unfold towards something clear.